Playing Second Fiddle

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Tonight I watched my oldest in his school musical, The Secret Garden. He was a minor character in the show, and as such did not have many solo parts. I was, however, so incredibley proud of him, because after watching him participate in two hour practices every day after school for weeks, I realized something: in many ways it’s harder to be back up than lead. When he tried out for the play, he was truly disappointed to not be given a major role. In fact, I wondered aloud if it was going to be worth it to be part of the show for him. My eldest loves to lead, to perform and to star. But, he reasoned it was a poor decision to quit just because he wasn’t cast in the part he wanted so he stuck it out. He juggled school, job and play practice for months, only to be on stage in the spotlight for a brief moment or two. Otherwise he was part of the ensemble chorus- one of many. There was very little personal glory in his role, yet the work invested much the same as those with a lead. The lead characters will be remembered. Stopped in the hallway and congratulated. Honored. Yet without all the minor parts and ensemble cast, the show would not have been possible, much less successful. For any collaborative effort to succeed, there must be people willing to play back up, background, second fiddle roles.

I often desire the “parts” in life that bring the glory. I’m ashamed to admit that it’s true, but it is. I’d like to think I only want to humbly serve in the background, but the truth is, I like being honored. Oh sure, I’ll work hard, plan hard and even pray hard- but I want a bit of the spotlight in return. Or at the very least, an honorable mention. But toil and work and serve……unrecognized?? 

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing. Taking on the very nature of a servant…” (Philippians 2)

It occured to me that the nature of a servant is to serve others. Not to be served. Not to strive and grasp for attention and glory. But simply to focus on the object of his service. Jesus came to earth to bring His father glory by serving us through the perfect life He lived for us and the horrible death He died for us. If I am to be part of this beautiful creation called the church that exists to express God’s love to the world, I have to focus on the One I serve and the ones He calls me to serve. And be content in knowing I already share in His glory.

Tonight I was proud of my son for his willingness to work hard at something that contributed to an overall success for many, but brough him very little personal glory. May the same be true of my role in God’s kingdom.

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